States sue EPA over new mercury rules and the “hot spots” they’ll create

A coalition of 11 states filed suit against the U.S. EPA in federal court yesterday, charging that the agency’s recently issued mercury emissions rules, which establish a “cap and trade” system whereby coal-fired power plants can trade pollution credits, pose an unacceptable threat to public health. Led by New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, the states charge that allowing plants to trade credits rather than mandating that they reduce emissions will lead to mercury “hot spots” around polluting plants. The lawsuit follows on the heels of a similar suit from nine states over the Bush administration’s exemption of coal-fired plants from parts of the Clean Air Act, a move that set the stage for the creation of the cap-and-trade system. As everyone reading this surely already knows, mercury is a toxin that causes brain damage and other maladies, particularly in fetuses and young children.